The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Today's book was suggested by ABrunson.

Today I decided to be responsible, unlike last Saturday, and actually start reading the book before 4:30 in the afternoon. Crazy, I know. I was weirdly productive today - I managed to read a book that's almost 400 pages and made some serious progress on my "I Can't Turn 30 and Be This Disorganized" project (which is not the catchiest title in the world, but it's serviceable enough for now.)

Today's book, "Set in Cambridge and Marblehead, Mass., Howe's propulsive if derivative novel alternates between the 1991 story of college student Connie Goodwin and a group of 17th-century outcasts. After moving into her grandmother's crumbling house to get it in shape for sale, Connie comes across a small key and piece of paper reading only Deliverance Dane. The Salem witch trials, contemporary Wicca and women's roles in early American history figure prominently as Connie does her academic detective work. What follows is a breezy read in which Connie must uncover the mystery of a shadowy book written by the enigmatic Deliverance Dane."

Shallow thoughts:

  • I'll be honest with you dear readers, today's book was not one I would have ever chosen to read on my own - but it seems that being forced to read a book has a good effect on me, because this is the second Suggestion Saturday in a row where I have liked the book. So what I've learned from all of this is that I shouldn't be allowed to pick my own books. . . or music. . . or TV . . . or, well I'm too depressed to continue, let's just say I have bad taste and leave it at that.

  • I liked the flashback parts the best - despite how bleak they were - and I feel certain there must be a better phrase for it than "flashback scenes" but my brain only works in TV-speak and I'm too lazy to fight it and actually learn the correct terms for anything, so I'm just going with it. Although, it seems I have a very hard time staying in that time period - through no fault of the authors - and so right in the middle of the 17th century, the 21st century would come crashing in. First, at the beginning of the book, when a father brought his sick daughter steamed lentils and all I could think was Steamed lentils? How depressing to be sick and not even get to watch cartoons and eat chocolate pudding and Hostess cupcakes. Of course that could just be my childhood. I was raised by a woman who believes that food is love and sick children deserve extra love - in that case her love came in the form of Doritos, Kool-Aid, and Tollhouse cookies.

  • And then later, the 21st century crashed into the middle of a witch trial, because the author distracted me by throwing out a sentence like this, ". . . and the assembled populace burst into a rising twitter of commentary that continued for a full five minutes." I can assure you dear readers, I tried to fight the mental image that was forming in my brain of a bunch of people dressed in 17th century garb, twittering on their blackberries. But I just couldn't do it. But, alas, those poor people in the 17th century had to muddle through a Twitter-free existence. No Twitter and no Hostess products (not to mention no Dallas DVDs), the 17th century was bleak.